Dementia and sensory loss: Sight loss

When I got a dementia diagnosis people knew I was having problems, so were quite understanding and looked at how they could help. Not so with this sight problem. Other people can’t see anything wrong... [RNIB] offered suggestions and little ways of stopping falling. I started to cry, just with relief that I’d got help for the first time.

Agnes Houston, talking at a seminar on dementia and sight loss (see Dementia and Sight Loss Interest Group 2009)

Key messages

  • Sight loss is very common among older people, and yet it can be missed as the symptoms may be misinterpreted as resulting from dementia.
  • It is important to understand the signs and symptoms of sight loss and ensure that older people have regular eye examinations.
  • There are many ways in which communication can be improved with people with sight loss and dementia.
  • Make the most of what sight a person has: ensure the correct and clean glasses are worn for the activities undertaken.
  • Environmental improvements, specialist equipment and technology can support people with sight loss and dementia to be more independent.